Karmazin Bullish on Ad Sales


New York -- Viacom Inc. president Mel Karmazin told more than 1,300 attendees
at the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau's Cable Advertising Conference
luncheon here Tuesday that the ad-sales outlook remained strong for his company
and for network cable in general.

'Advertising is growing, and 2001 is no exception,' he said. Indeed, cable
advertising has grown each year since 1990 except 1991, due to the Persian Gulf
War, he noted.

Karmazin -- who criticized 'obnoxious articles' in the trade press about an
ad-sales slowdown -- conceded that there will be 'some rough bumps' for network
cable in the first part of this year. But he added that the year will end with
record sales.

He cited several factors as fueling ad-sales growth, including corporate name
changes, an explosion in new products and competition, the latter in part due to
deregulation in financial services, telecommunications and direct-to-consumer

In addition, he cited Viacom's success in cross-media ad sales across such
assets as MTV Networks and the recently acquired CBS broadcast network. The
company's Viacom Plus sales unit did 15 such cross-platform deals Tuesday alone,
he claimed.

In the question-and-answer segment, Karmazin said Viacom remains acquisitive.
He added that he would be interested in buying additional cable networks, as
well as television stations in the top 20 markets and radio and
outdoor-advertising companies in the top 50.